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Ital is Vital: Jamaican-Style Coconut Bean Stew

Jamaican Coconut StewMon, this stew make me feel irie. Yummy, creamy and filling, it’s a great main course served with rice.  Ital food is rasta, designed to increase health and vitality (what is called livity) through avoidance of “dead” (animal) food.

Feel free to use whatever beans and veggies you have on hand.  Don’t have plantains? No problem. Try sweet potatoes, peppers, cabbage, and other types of beans. Leftovers also make awesome patties (see pie crust recipe here).

Depending upon whether you start with dried soaked beans or just a few cans, follow the slight recipe variations. A pressure cooker is highly recommended for speed and ease if you go the dried beans route. Feel free to up the spices too, which we usually do but this version should be just fine for those born to be mild and the hot pepper can also be reduced or eliminated.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Soaked Garbanzo Beans or 2 cups precooked or canned, drained

1 Cup Soaked Kidney Beans or 1 cup precooked or canned, drained

Jamaican Coconut Bean Stew Ingredients½ Medium Onion, chopped

1 Tsp Dried Thyme

1 Scotch Bonnet, Habenero or small hot pepper (or ¼ Tsp. dried Cayenne)

1 Tbsp. Allspice (Pimento) Berries (or 1 Tsp. Ground)

½ Tsp. Ground Nutmeg

6 Whole Cloves (or  1/4 Tsp. Ground)

Jamaican Coconut Bean Stew More Ingredients2-3 Cloves Garlic

2 Bay Leaves

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

1 Can Coconut Milk

1 Small Potato, chopped in ½ inch chunks

 Jamaican Coconut Bean Stew2 Medium Carrots, cut in ½ – 1 inch chunks

1 Ripe Plantain, chopped in ¼ inch chunks

¼ Cup Cilantro, chopped

1 Tsp. Salt

1-2 Cups Water

HOW TO MAKE IT:

If using soaked beans :

Step One: Combine beans, garlic, onion, thyme, allspice, cloves, bay leaves, black pepper and hot pepper.  Add coconut milk with enough water to make 1 ½ cups liquid.

Step Two: Cook in a pressure cooker 14 minutes at pressure, allowing pressure to release naturally. Alternatively, cook 1 ½ hours until beans are tender, adding more liquid as needed.

Step Three: When beans are cooked, carefully release pressure cooker lid and add salt, carrot and potato and proceed as in Step Two below.

Jamaican Coconut Bean Stew PlateIf using canned or pre-cooked beans:

Step One: Combine coconut milk and 1 cup water with garlic, onion, thyme, allspice, cloves, bay leaves, salt, pepper, hot pepper, carrot and potato.

Step Two: Simmer stew about 20 minutes until carrots and potato are tender.

Step Three:  Add chopped plantain and cilantro and simmer 5-10 minutes more, adding more water as needed.  Stew should be fairly thick.

Serve with hot rice and scotch bonnet pepper sauce if you like it spicy. One love.

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